The FAA has modified areas in Eastern Ukraine that are off-limits to US airlines and their foreign codeshare partners, citing a stabilization in security conditions in the region.
The directive, which will remain in effect until October 2020, will open up takeoffs and landings at three Ukrainian international airports, as well as flights over four Black Sea routes, while retaining bans on operations in more volatile areas of Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea.
The FAA first prohibited flight operations in April 2014 in parts of the Simferopol (UKFV) Flight Information Region (FIR) by US carriers and airmen because of conflicting airspace claims between Ukraine and Russia arising from the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
That prohibition was expanded in July 2014 to include the entire UKFV FIR, as well as the Dnipropetrovsk FIR (UKDV), following a rise in hostilities between the Ukraine military and pro-Russian separatists, and the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that month, which killed 280 passengers and 15 crew.
Following two additional extensions in 2015 and 2016, the FAA has now proposed to extend the prohibition for another two years, but only in the portions of the UKFV and UKDV FIRs where there is still a continuing hazard to civil aviation.
The FAA is extending the prohibition in the Eastern part of UKDV, but will be permitting US civil operations in the Western portion of the region. The three airports now open to US airlines and their codeshare partners are all located within the flight prohibition area of the UKDV FIR, but will be receiving exemptions from the FAA to facilitate US aircraft.
They include the Kharkiv International Airport (UKHH), which serves the country’s second largest city of Kharkiv; the Dnipropetrovsk International Airport (UKDD); and Zaporizhzhia International Airport (UKDE). The FAA said those airports are safe because of a “buffer from the area of fighting and associated weapons capabilities”…